The following is a draft of the letter to be sent out to all Latin Rite bishops of the Catholic Church on March 31. It calls for the retraction of the Winnipeg Statement, among other measures.
If you have not signed the petition, we encourage you to do so.
March 31, 2008
Feast of the Annunciation
As you are no doubt aware, the moral situation in Canada has degenerated significantly in the past few years. While there are many factors leading to the erosion of our culture, the root cause of such decay lies in the acceptance of contraception. In order to halt the disastrous consequences of contraception to our society and to pursue a culture of life, we are seeking to address the official position of the Canadian Bishops on this issue.
Just as we have our sacraments, so does this culture of death. Where the culture of life has Baptism and the Eucharist, the culture of death has Contraception and Abortion. One side has the sacraments of unity; the other of division. Aside from the insidious nature of contraception in its substance, no real or substantial progress can be made against abortion until contraception is first exposed and defeated. Indeed, we believe the current immoral state of our nation is the direct result of contraception. Once contraceptive sex was accepted in principle, it led the way to all of the other sexual abominations our country is currently experiencing, not the least of which is same-sex “marriage” – which, at its core, is merely contraception in its final form. Contraception blurred the distinction between men and women by robbing women of their femininity and subverting their fertility. The psychological effects of this over 40 years came to fruition with the normalization of same-sex unions. A sterilized woman is, in one fundamental respect, another man.
We can no longer sit idly by as a Church and pretend that our actions – or lack of them – in word or in deed have not contributed to this situation. For forty years we have walked the desert of this culture of death because for forty years, we have refused to submit to the entire truth of Humanae Vitae. As faithful Catholics, therefore, we are humbly asking the bishops of Canada to reflect on how their teaching (or lack thereof) regarding contraception these past 40 years has contributed to Canada’s social and moral collapse. In particular, we are once again drawing your attention to the Winnipeg Statement, one of the most destructive documents ever to be released on the subject of contraception.
The Winnipeg Statement, most notably paragraph 26, has caused incredible destruction not only in Canada but throughout the English speaking world. And the responsibility for making things right rests with our spiritual fathers, the bishops. This means acknowledging the great harm that this statement has caused. Frankly speaking, your Grace, the Winnipeg Statement is the elephant in the room whenever Humanae Vitae and contraception are discussed, and it is the reason that contraception is rarely mentioned from the pulpits today.
We call your attention to the comments made by the bishops of the Philippines who gave a frank confession of their past teaching on contraception. In 1990, the bishops of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter in which they apologized for their failure to explain the Church’s teaching on contraception. They said:
“We abandoned you to your confused and lonely consciences with a lame excuse: ‘follow what your conscience tells you’. How little did we realize that it was our consciences that needed to be formed first.” (Love is Life, October 7, 1990).
We also call your attention to the Church’s own document in seeking forgiveness:
It is necessary to specify the appropriate subject called to speak about the faults of the past, whether it be local Bishops, considered personally or collegially, or the universal Pastor, the Bishop of Rome. In this perspective, it is opportune to take into account – in recognizing past wrongs and the present day subjects who could best assume responsibility for these – the distinction between Magisterium and authority in the Church. Not every act of authority has magisterial value, and so behavior contrary to the Gospel by one or more persons vested with authority does not involve per se the magisterial charism, which is assured by the Lord to the Church’s Bishops, and consequently does not require any Magisterial act of reparation.
It is necessary to underscore that the one addressed by any request for forgiveness is God and that any human recipients – above all, if these are groups of persons either inside or outside the community of the Church – must be identified with appropriate historical and theological discernment, in order to undertake acts of reparation which are indeed suitable, and also in order to give witness to them of the good will and the love for the truth of the Church’s sons and daughters. This will be accomplished to the extent that there is dialogue and reciprocity between the parties, oriented toward a possible reconciliation connected with the recognition of faults and repentance for them. However, one should not forget that reciprocity – at times impossible because of the religious convictions of the dialogue partner – cannot be considered an indispensable condition, and that the gratuity of love often expresses itself in unilateral initiatives. (International Theological Commission, Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past, December 1999, approved by then Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).
As we approach the forty year milestones of Humanae Vitae, the Winnipeg Statement, and the legalization of contraception and abortion in Canada, the church in Canada needs to seek forgiveness for its scandalous witness on the question of contraception. The fathers of the Church cannot reasonably expect their sons and daughters (or the culture at large) to open their hearts to the beauty of the sexual mystery when the official position of the Church in Canada dissents from Humanae Vitae. Things will only turn around in Canada when the whole Church begins to repent. But that must start with the fathers. And as the fathers lead, the sons and daughters will follow.
Enclosed herewith, you will find a petition calling for the retraction of the Winnipeg Statement. It has been supported by approximately 1000 Canadians thusfar. We ask you to once again prayerfully and honestly reflect on paragraph 26 of the Winnipeg Statement and ask yourself if this is an honest and clear presentation of the Church’s teaching on contraception. If it is not, then we respectfully ask you to be frank with us and admit it.
Also enclosed is a DVD video recording of the Humanae Vitae 2006 – A New Beginning Conference which was sponsored by The Rosarium in May, 2006. Many of the talks were excellent and we encourage you to make use of them in your marriage and catechumen programs. Should you wish to use them in your diocese, please contact us to make arrangements.
HV-1 Feed My Lambs: The Priest as spiritual guide to individuals (Fr. Joe Hattie)
HV-2 Medical Consequences of Contraception (Dr. Maria Kraw)
HV-3 Natural Family Planning: One Guy’s Perspective (Guy Levac)
HV-4 Contraception & The Breakdown of Marriage (Pete Vere)
HV-5 Procreation Without Union: Addressing the Problem of Infertility (Dr. Maria Kraw)
HV-6 Contraception: Friend or Foe? (Dr. Janet Smith)
HV-7 The Spectacular Story of Humanae Vitae & Role of Conscience (Dr. Janet Smith)
HV-8 The Culture of Life vs.The Culture of Death (Dr. Janet Smith)
HV-9 Theology of Your Body (Cale Clarke)
HV-10 Q&A Round Table (Smith, Kraw, Cataudella)
HV-11 The Whole Man & The Whole Mission: Humanae Vitae Discovered (Steve Kellmeyer)
The files are in WMV format which can be viewed on a computer. We also have these talks in conventional DVD and CD formats.
The next couple of years will see Canada approach 40 years of tragic milestones in our nation’s history concerning contraception and abortion. Therefore, we believe it is fitting that Canada’s bishops remember the great holocaust of abortion and its enabler, contraception, by leading our nation to repentance. We therefore propose to you and the bishops of Canada the following actions:
1. July 25, 2008 – In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, a full and unqualified endorsement of the encyclical by the Canadian bishops, and a clear and unambiguous condemnation of contraception, similar to the one released by the American Bishops.
2. September 27, 2008 – In repentance of the issuance of the Winnipeg Statement 40 years previously, a full, complete, and genuine retraction of the Winnipeg Statement, and a sincere apology to all Catholics and Canadians for the confusion caused.
3. May 14, 2009 – In response to the 40th year of legalized of abortion in Canada, a visible act of opposition by the Church in Canada by calling all Catholics to participate in March for Life rallies in every province in this country, preceded or followed by a Eucharistic procession and Solemn Mass presided over by all of the provinces’ bishops for the conversion of Canada to the Gospel of Life.
As the Church goes, your Grace, so goes society. We don’t need more dialogue. We don’t need more study or reflection. We don’t need more task forces or bureaucracies. What we need is good old fashion repentance and action, your Grace. And just like any repentance must start with the father of the family, so it is with the Bishops of the Church in Canada who are our fathers in the faith.
If Humanae Vitae were genuinely received by the Church in Canada, we would see the Gospel of Life bloom, but until genuine confession and repentance happens, the culture of death will continue to advance.
Canada needs bishops who are not afraid of humiliation and the cross, your Grace, because the servant is not greater than His master.
Rest assured of our prayers for your ministry. With every prayer we remain,
Yours in Christ our Sovereign King,
John Pacheco and Tony Liuzzo
The Rosarium of the Blessed Virgin Mary
4life @ therosarium.ca
c.c. All Dioceses of the Latin Rite